March 6, 2012

On Being and Becoming

On Being and Becoming

It is a puzzling thing.  The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,” and so it goes away. 

~Robert M. Pirsig

The transitions in life are sometimes hard to see.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. There are obvious transitions – birth, death, marriage, a new job, a new house. But there are others that – even if profound – sort of sneak up on you and may only be visible in hindsight.

Isn’t that funny? We think the things in front of us should be easiest to see right – the thing right in front of your face, right in front of your eyes…but no, like the mom with eyes in the back of her head we can really see what’s behind us better than anything.

Today I realized that I went running because I wanted to.

Mostly, for the better part of 8 months I have been running as a sort of commitment/experimental challenge. It’s been hard, it’s been painful – but it gets results and that s what I have been looking for. Convenience and results. I have not asked for more. Ok, I have asked for a little bit more. I have been hoping – secretly, and sometimes out loud – that I might find the magical thing that makes people fall in love with running.

Love of anything is always a bit secretive isn’t it? Sometimes we find out the thing we thought we loved is not even a thing we like…and sometimes the thing we never expected shows up and finds a way into our hearts.

It was just a little thing today. I did what I often do:

  • Finish work
  • Pick up kids
  • Stop and do an errand on the way home
  • Asses whether the kids were starving – they were not
  • Told them I was going for a run and would be back in 45 minutes – they know the rules

Two minutes later I was out the door and headed towards the ocean.  The sun was getting low and we were about to have a beautiful sunset.  There were a lot of people out running or on bikes or skateboards or whatever – on skateboards being pulled by dogs – and was running in front of them or behind them or around them and I realized that I really didn’t care.

In fact, I was smiling.

Ok – that was it – I was smiling and I realized I was smiling because I was happy. I had had a long, hectic stressful day, and now I was running and I was almost going to turn the corner and head onto the sand and I was really really happy.

I was happy to be running.


Now I hit the sand, I run down to the edge of the water and I am running and I am watching the sun get low over the ocean. It’s obscenely beautiful. who wouldn’t be happy looking at that.  I notice that my new shoes really do feel great on the sand and my feet feel light and – wow – ok – I feel great and I am really liking this.

When did I start liking running?

I know I have seen some glimpses of it.  The occasional comment from a blog reader about how I seem to really enjoy running. The taunt of a friend or two that soon enough I’ll be running marathons (I really think not), the few times recently that someone has referred to me as a runner and I have not flinched.

Maybe it was this:

I called a friend the other day who has a Verizon cell phone with that service that plays music while they locate the caller. His phone plays Chariots of Fire (yeah, he’s a runner). I was listening to it and visualizing men running down a beach…and then thinking of myself running down the beach…and then I realized that THAT made me happy.

(In fact it’s possible that I called his cell phone several more times just to hear that music and repeat the experience. Is that pathological?)

Can you become something when you don’t notice?

And how do you know?

So often we are blind to the changes that happen to us. I am trying to look in the mirror a little more carefully today.

Happy Monday to you.





Leave a comment
  1. Kristy Kuna
    March 6, 2012 at 4:01 am #

    Another great post! Always nice to capture the emotion of a great run that you WANTED to be doing. So many I felt like I forced myself to do. Thankful? Yes. Immensely. I must say that my most favorite run I’ve ever done was my recent half marathon. Best run ever. (Hint, hint!)

    • Jacqueline Jacques
      March 6, 2012 at 5:13 am #

      Kristy – are you trying to tell me something here?
      So – ok – tell me this: what drove you to do a half marathon? Why did you want to do it, what did you like about it, what was actually fun about running it?
      To be really honest, that distance sounds impossibly long to me! But I am sure it is probably possible…I just don’t seem to have found the reason or motivation to do it yet. So tell me yours…

  2. nordictk
    March 6, 2012 at 5:46 am #

    I think someone who blogs daily may have just discovered that she is, indeed, a “runner!” 🙂

    • Jacqueline Jacques
      March 6, 2012 at 5:54 am #

      Calling names now are we…

  3. Sarah
    March 8, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    I just found this blog through the another mother runner folks. I’m also a big fan of the half marathon so I thought I’d share why I did it. Twice, actually, and hoping to again this spring.

    I started running on May 31, 2009, doing to couch to 5K program because my friends were doing it and I needed something to do for exercise. I didn’t like running much at first. In fact, I got mad at my husband because he insisted on “counting” running as my free time when I wanted it to count more like going to a doctor’s appointment. One of those running friends convinced me to do a Ragnar relay race – with a bunch of moms, not racing for time, just more like a girls weekend, but with running. However, a lot more running than the 2.5-3 miles I did three times a week.

    I said yes to Ragnar for the chance to get away for the weekend for fun, not work. I was a bit freaked about the running so I started doing a longer run on the weekend. “Longer” meant 4 miles at first. Then five. Then I found a long run buddy, the father of my son’s best friend. One day we found ourselves doing nine miles, meeting the kids at the playground, and racing around with them. Suddenly a half marathon seemed within reach and we ran one about 4-5 weeks later.

    Running the half was incredibly fun and super hard. The same way that meeting an important career goal might be fun and hard except as a complete non-athlete my whole life, this was like meeting a career goal as a rock star or a celebrity chef or something more glamorous than what I actually am (an academic).

    So, I kind of fell into running a half marathon as part of a plan to go on a weekend getaway with some girlfriends. But it was great and I ran another last fall and I’m looking at another one in April.

    I really love this blog!

    • Jacqueline Jacques
      March 8, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

      Hi Sarah,

      I love your comment. Especially the comment about running counting more like a doctor’s appointment than free time…I know I have had feelings that approximate that! I like that you had sort of an evolution to enjoying longer and longer runs and then to 1/2 marathons. I think if I ever get there, it would be more like this than setting some hard fast goal of “I am going to be able to do this is X months and then training really hard to do it. Mostly, I am trying to experience – and and as much as possible – enjoy the ride. Right now I am at the part of your story where ““Longer” meant 4 miles” – and I am pretty happy about that. For the future, we shall see!

  4. Nancy McM
    March 10, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Found your blog through RLAM… congrats on being profiled, how cool is that?! I definately relate to your blog name. I have no idea why, {having never been an athlete in any way} that I wanted to run a 5k by the time I was 50. I started the C25k program, and actually did run in a 5k one week after my 50th b-day – & got 2nd place in my age group. It was a small group 😉 It’s been up and down the past year. I seem to like the ‘concept’ of running more than the actual act these days, but there is a tiny part of my quietly squeaking out ‘yes this is fun, yes I like this, yes keep going”…

    • Jacqueline Jacques
      March 11, 2012 at 7:18 am #

      Hi Nancy – it was very cool (and surprising) to be profiled. Your story is also very cool. I’ve been slow to reply to all the great comments I’ve had because I’m in Venice Italy at the moment, but I have had such a fun time with all the new women who have found my blog. Welcome!

  5. Kristy
    March 21, 2012 at 1:29 am #

    Dr. Jacques – So I just noticed you asked me something directly that I never responded to. I didn’t see it until now! So, it’s about 2 weeks late… sorry! What prompted me to want to run a half marathon? Honestly, it’s a goal I always wanted to atain but always thought that sounded like an incredibly long distance to run and I was afraid to commit to training and have it “get in the way” of my life. But, I know myself pretty well and know that if I say I am going to do something like this, I will hold myself to it. But, my motivation for really wanting to train for it was TO hold myself accountable. Because I knew if I signed up for an event that was 5.5 months away that for 5.5 months I would religiously exercise. And, I needed to. I had a lot of baby weight I wanted to lose but couldn’t find a way to do it that worked. So, I thought a big exercise regimen would at least make me feel better and help me get healthy. It did. I lost all my baby weight training, plus 10 pounds extra, and learned so much through the whole thing about myself, my body, etc. The race was fun because I ran somewhere so fun and during the whole race I could sit back and reflect on my training time and how far I had come. As much as it sounds daunting to run continuously for 2 hours or so, it was the quickest 2 hours of my life and such an emotional experience. I still say that anyone can train themselves to run a half marathon. You just have to want to do it and want to finish it. That’s all you need. The rest you leave up to your body and your discipline. 🙂

    • Jacqueline Jacques
      March 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

      How inspiring! I think you hit the nail on the head about so much being mental. I am constantly amazed at how – while clearly physical – running is a huge mental exercise. I suppose that anything that calls for endurance also calls for some mental fortitude. That’s still a hurdle for me when it comes to distance. I think it has to seem possible before it can become possible. We’ll see! And thanks for sharing!